Road construction work is essential to maintain roads and highways in South Carolina. The safe flow of traffic through work zones is critical when road paving and other construction activity is in progress. Highway work zones that lack adequate warning signs and traffic controls can create hazards that lead to serious car accidents and pedestrian accidents. Road construction accidents in South Carolina cause drivers and construction workers to suffer preventable injuries and deaths every year. Some of the most serious personal injury cases our law firm handles involve road construction accidents.
A motorist injured in a work zone crash may have a claim against another motorist that caused the accident or against a highway contractor or government agency that failed to design a safe work zone. In other construction zone accidents, an injured road worker may collect workers’ comp benefits and have a right to file a personal claim against a negligent motorist who caused the accident.
The road construction accident lawyers at Joye Law Firm help injured motorists and injured workers and/or their families seek full compensation for medical expenses and other losses in a work zone accident. The Joye Law Firm has been providing trusted legal guidance to South Carolinians for more than 50 years. We have four offices in North Charleston, Columbia, Clinton and Myrtle Beach and represent clients throughout the state. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any case, we are proud of the record of results we have achieved for clients who put their trust in us. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a crash at a road construction site, call Joye Law Firm for a free consultation with a knowledgeable and compassionate injury attorney.
Common Types of Workers in Road Construction Zones
Road construction workers as well as motorists are at a risk of serious injuries and fatal injuries at road construction sites. A work zone is a designated segment of a road, highway or right-of-way where paving or construction activity is occurring. Fines for speeding are higher in work zones because of the greater risk of accidents.
Road workers often work in congested worksites around heavy equipment and only a few feet away from moving traffic. A moment’s inattention by a motorist or a road worker can prove deadly. Workers on foot may be struck by distracted motorists who are trying to navigate the changes in traffic patterns or not paying adequate attention to road conditions. Road construction often occurs at night, and reduced visibility and inclement weather may make workers on foot more difficult to see.
Traffic control flaggers who direct traffic have extremely dangerous jobs. Flaggers and laborers work in close proximity to traffic and are at risk of being struck by passing vehicles and by the movement of construction equipment such as dump trucks. A leading cause of preventable fatal road and bridge construction accidents is road workers being backed over or run over by construction vehicles, which have large blind spots.
Road surveyors and survey crews also are at risk of being struck or run over by moving vehicles in work zones while they perform their jobs.
Operators of paving equipment and road graders are at risk of collisions and rollover accidents when working on road embankments and when loading and unloading the equipment from a flatbed truck.
To reduce the likelihood of work zone injuries and fatalities, contractors are required to take reasonable safety precautions in work zones to warn of hazards, channel traffic safely and separate road workers on foot from moving vehicles to the extent possible. A contractor’s failure to take adequate safety precautions can make the company liable for accidents and injuries.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a road construction accident, it is important to have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney at Joye Law Firm review the accident details and determine whether others may be held responsible for your injuries. The government agency responsible for maintaining the road, the road contractor or a subcontractor or a motorist may be liable for the accident.
Work Zone Accident Statistics in South Carolina
South Carolina reported 2,515 collisions in work zones, according to the 2017 South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book.
There were 848 injury accidents and 16 fatal accidents, causing 20 deaths.
Road construction accidents occurred most commonly when shoulder and median work was underway. Lane closures and lane shifts also were associated with a high number of accidents.
South Carolina Work Zone Safety Guidelines
The Work Zone Safety Guidelines published by the South Carolina Department of Transportation provide explanations and examples of typical traffic control applications for work zones.
When construction occurs on two-lane and multi-lane secondary and primary routes in South Carolina, a traffic control zone is to be erected. The traffic control zone consists of the area between the first advance warning sign and the point beyond the work space where traffic is no longer affected.
A typical road construction traffic control zone consists of five segments:
- Advance warning area, with signs to tell drivers what to expect ahead.
- Transition area, which uses barriers, channeling devices and/or lights to move traffic from its normal path and away from workers.
- Buffer space, which is an optional length of roadway with barriers, etc., to provide additional separation between traffic and construction workers.
- Protected work space for workers, equipment, storage.
- Termination area, which lets traffic resume normal route and speed.
A serious highway work zone accident may occur in any segment of a construction zone because of several factors:
- Frequent changes in traffic flow patterns.
- Vehicles travelling at different speeds.
- Motorists who speed, talk on cell phones, send text messages, drive carelessly or fail to remain alert for changes in traffic patterns.
- Lack of adequate warning signs resulting in drivers having too little time to adjust their speed as they approach a work zone.
- Uneven pavement, sharp curves or sudden lane shifts that cause drivers to brake or change lanes unexpectedly.
- Adverse weather that can reduce drivers’ ability see as they’re travelling through a highway construction work zone.
- Independent road contractors that fail to follow state or federal safety regulations.
Legal Help After a South Carolina Work Zone Accident
Construction companies, independent contractors and others involved in road construction are legally obligated to complete construction in a timely manner without endangering drivers. When a person is injured or killed in a work zone accident, the government agency responsible for maintaining the road, the road contractor or others involved may be held liable if an improperly designed work zone caused the accident.
If a driver’s careless driving in a work zone caused a car accident and a road construction worker or another driver was injured, the at-fault driver could be held liable and required to pay compensation for the resulting losses.
People injured in road construction accidents often face serious medical challenges that require lengthy and costly recovery periods. Whether the accident was caused by a contractor’s failure to meet safety standards, a construction worker’s negligence, faulty construction equipment or a reckless driver, the injured driver may have a legal right to demand for compensation for his or her injuries and losses.
Work zone accidents must be properly investigated to determine what went wrong and who should be held accountable. Investigations require knowledge of the applicable state and federal safety regulations and how to review the scene and assess whether work zone safety violations occurred.
An experienced work zone accident attorney will examine all factors involved in a road construction accident to determine liability. Once our attorneys at Joye Law Firm identify potentially liable parties, we will send a demand letter to the appropriate insurance company or government agency and pursue full compensation for you. Highway work zone accidents present complicated issues and require a dedicated attorney with the resources and experience to hold the at-fault parties fully accountable.
Contact a South Carolina Road Work Accident Attorney
After a road construction accident involving injuries, you should understand whether you have a right to claim compensation to help with your medical care. If you were injured while working at a road construction jobsite, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and have other legal options as well.
Our experienced South Carolina road work accident lawyers will review the specifics of your accident and employment and explain your legal rights. Joye Law Firm has offices in North Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Clinton and represents injured motorists and workers in road construction accident cases throughout the state of South Carolina.
Call (877) 941-1019 to talk with a road construction injury lawyer about your rights to seek compensation.